Black Panther Party and African American Community

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The Black Panther Party, founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California on October 15, 1966, ceased to exist by 1982 due to the crack cocaine epidemic that impacted the African American community. The dissolution of the Black Panther Organization was influenced by the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.), which participated in smuggling crack cocaine into impoverished areas with significant African American populations. The involvement of the C.I.A. exemplifies how First Amendment rights can be exercised by individuals or groups and exposes government corruption within the United States. Hence, it prompts us to question who exactly were the Black Panthers and what principles did they espouse?

Amidst civil rights movements, the summer of love, the Vietnam War, and the Watts riots, the Black Panther Party arose with a call for “revolutionary inter-communalism.” Their goals included attaining peace and equality for African Americans, enhancing housing and healthcare services for their community, addressing police brutality against African Americans, and fostering awareness within their organization.

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The government faced criticism and scrutiny from the Black Panther Party, founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California. Initially, the party consisted only of African American males but later included African American females as well. It expanded to cities like Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, and Los Angeles. This expansion caught the attention of political figures and offices. The establishment and growth of the party contributed to the continuation of the Federal Bureau’s Investigation (F.B.I) operation known as “counter intelligence program” (cointelpro), which had connections with the Black Panthers.

From August 1956 to 1971, the FBI conducted covert operations targeting various domestic groups in the United States, including communist parties such as the Ku Klux Klan, socialist workers party, and the Black Panther Party. The purpose of these operations was to closely monitor what they deemed radical or hate groups. However, this operation known as Cointelpro received criticism from Congress and the American people for violating first amendment rights and other reasons [3]. Its main objective was to discredit the Black Panther Party and wrongfully imprison its protesting members. In 1971, a break-in at the FBI building resulted in stolen documents related to this operation. To conceal their actions, the operation was terminated on April 29, 1971 [2]. John Edgar Hoover played a role in this tumultuous period as he served as director of the FBI from May 10th, 1924 until his death on May 2nd, 1972.

According to Hoover, he developed the Communist Control Act of 1954 to nullify the rights and benefits of legal entities established under US law. Subsequently, Hoover executed a program called cointelpro under this act with a specific focus on the Black Panther Party from the mid-1960s to early 1970s. This decision was prompted by the party’s growing support, causing Hoover to view them as more than simply a Black national hate group associated with communism.

According to West’s Encyclopedia of Law 2005, J. Edgar Hoover manipulated the Black Panthers and local gangs by pitting them against each other. He had an informant within the Black Panthers who gathered information, resulting in a deadly riot in 1969 that claimed the lives of many Panthers and police officers. The FBI admitted their wrongful killings and compensated the victims’ families, but a federal judge later punished the Bureau for concealing the truth. In 1970, both Hoover’s position and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) were called into question due to numerous allegations against the Bureau.

J. Edgar Hoover feared that if his secrets as a dictator were exposed publicly, he would lose his job, potentially face imprisonment, and damage the reputation of the Bureau. He not only prioritized protecting his own image but also the well-being of his family and others involved in his dictatorial operation.

In 1972, Hoover passed away and a year later, the stolen documents of the cointelpro operation were publicly disclosed to N.B.C reporter Carl Stern through the Freedom of Information Act. As a result, investigations were launched by Attorney General William B. Saxbe from 1975-76, with hearings conducted by the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence during this period.

While the House legislators kept their report confidential, the Senate released their report on April 28, 1976. This report unveiled a consistent disregard for activities that posed a threat to our constitutional system. The information provided here is sourced from West’s Encyclopedia of Law (2005).

These reports led to a proposal to limit the tenure of the director of the F. B. I to ten years under the president of the United States. This measure aimed to ensure that no one person could hold the position without undergoing a thorough background check. The Black Community and the F. B. I comprised largely African American individuals residing in southern Los Angeles and other rural areas, many of whom were affiliated with the Black Panther Party. The government sought to control and subdue the Black Panther Party using any means necessary. As a result, the F. B. I engaged in smuggling cocaine narcotics through Nicaraguan Contras drug traffickers named Juan Norwin Meneses and Oscar Danilo Blandon, as they were not receiving support from the United States.

Documents released by the F. B. I revealed that the narcotic was purposely distributed to impoverished communities, leading to the development of crack cocaine by Ricky Donnell Ross, also known as “freeway” Ricky Ross. The consequences were dire, with numerous deaths, incarceration of individuals involved in possession or sale of the substance, a rise in children without parents and those affected by prenatal exposure to crack cocaine (commonly referred to as “crack babies”), as well as widespread addiction. As a result, both the Black Panther Party and the Black community faced significant repercussions from this infiltration of narcotics. This drug had complete control over users’ bodies and minds, causing extensive destruction.

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which aimed to establish equal sentences for individuals caught with crack cocaine and powder cocaine, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. The article highlights that 80% of African Americans are incarcerated for crack cocaine offenses, while Latinos and Whites face sentencing for powder cocaine at a rate of 70%. Sandy Banks, an author who has covered South Los Angeles as a reporter for over two decades, reflects on her firsthand experiences witnessing the destructive consequences of drug addiction.

The societal impact of crack cocaine is evident in various significant public issues, including a surge in foster care placements, increasing crime rates, overwhelmed emergency rooms, and the growth of a marginalized population in skid row. The assistance of the FBI facilitated the crack epidemic, resulting in the destruction of African American individuals, culture, and communities. An article shared an incident where a police officer described arresting a 9-year-old boy who stole food from a liquor store to feed his three younger siblings while their mother was absent on a drug binge for several days. This epidemic forced children to mature prematurely as they had to contribute to households lacking parental supervision due to substance abuse. Furthermore, a social worker recounted rescuing a 12-year-old girl from a crack house where her father had traded her for a $20 rock.

The epidemic of crack addiction has led to the trafficking of young girls as sex slaves in exchange for the drug. However, recent statistics indicate a decline in this epidemic. Crime rates, hospital admissions, and the number of children placed in foster care have all decreased. It appears that individuals who smoke crack are getting older and either reducing their addiction or succumbing to it. The open-air drug markets have disappeared, with drug-related activities now mainly occurring indoors. Although specific numbers were not provided in the article, the decrease in crack cocaine use is advantageous for society. Don Hashima, a former addict and drug counselor, addressed the challenges related to triggers that can cause relapse and limited avenues for recovery for those affected by addiction. This article focuses on the efforts of the F.B.I. to combat the crack epidemic.

The Washington Association Press published an article in 1986 discussing the connection between the United States and drug trafficking, which had a negative impact on the African American community. In response to accusations of official involvement, the Reagan administration released a three-page report defending themselves. According to this report, there is no evidence of leader involvement in drug trafficking, although some individual Nicaraguan Contras may have collaborated with traffickers. The report acknowledges the possibility of government role but denies leader awareness. It states that any participation would have occurred during 1984 and 1985 when aid from the United States was withheld. The Reagan administration’s report is considered as the most comprehensive response from the White House regarding allegations of rebel engagement in drug trafficking during that specific time period.

The article discusses how allegations against Regan have hindered his efforts to secure aid for the rebels, as he has criticized the Nicaraguan government for its alleged involvement in drug trafficking. The report provides evidence that suggests that some drug traffickers have attempted to establish connections with resistance groups in Nicaragua. Representative Charles W. Stenholm, a democrat from Texas, defends the report by stating that these attempts mostly occurred when the resistance was lacking U.S. funding and in dire need of financial support.

The administration’s report suggests that some members of the resistance may have been engaged in unauthorized drug trafficking activities, potentially due to insufficient funds from the U.S.

Additionally, the report acknowledges that U.S. officials held discussions with Contra leaders regarding the issue of drugs and received assurances that their organizations would not tolerate any involvement in drug trafficking. This signifies that action has been taken against those accused and measures will be implemented to closely supervise and prevent further illegal activities or concealments.

In a YouTube video documentary titled “freeway” Rick Ross explores his participation in drug trafficking while examining the CIA’s involvement in this matter.

The journalist Jane W. introduces the topic by discussing the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.). The focus then shifts to a town hall meeting in South Central Los Angeles, where John N., the former director of the C.I.A., addresses allegations of drug smuggling within their community. At this meeting, a former narcotic detective from the Los Angeles Police Department speaks out and accuses the agency of long-standing involvement in nationwide drug trafficking. Due to his previous occupation, the detective’s credibility leads the public to believe that he possesses insider knowledge on this matter.

The director of the C. I. A has addressed concerns about wrongdoing and stated that those accused will be held accountable if evidence is found. The director’s goal was to reassure the audience that, at present, there is only speculation and no concrete evidence implicating them.

The document mentions Garry Webb, a writer for the Mercury news who published a three-part series called “dark alliance,” which later became a book. According to the document, Garry’s articles sparked curiosity and revealed evidence connecting the C. I. A.

According to Garry, he does not believe that the C. I. A intentionally sought to harm the African American community with the crack cocaine epidemic. He believes that the agency was simply driven by financial motives, without concern for the source of their profits. However, intentional or not, the actions of the C. I. A continue to have a detrimental effect on the African American community even today. The document reveals that Webb’s executive editor acknowledges that Webb’s accusations oversimplified the origins of the crack epidemic and omitted crucial conflicting evidence.

The editor removed Webb from the articles to prevent a safety risk and avoid possible litigation from the C. I. A if the reports were inaccurate. To mitigate potential issues, the paper discredited Webb through a statement. Retracting Webb’s accusations was necessary due to the high level of risk involved. In the documentary “freeway” Ricky Ross is introduced as the “Wal-Mart of crack” because he amassed millions from drug deals. The interview with Ross occurred in prison, where he served a life sentence for distributing cocaine. Throughout the interview, Ross acknowledges crack cocaine’s negative impact, which includes separating families by taking mothers away from children and putting fathers in jail, leaving kids without parents at home. Ross expresses sympathy towards those he has harmed.

Ross later admits to playing a significant role in drug trafficking, stating that he participated with the aim of quickly amassing wealth. However, it is important to note that Ross was not solely responsible for introducing and distributing crack cocaine to the public. He was coerced by the C.I.A., who infiltrated narcotics into impoverished communities. Despite this, Ross cannot be considered a victim as he received assistance in his actions. Don Pastora confirms Nicaraguan involvement in crack cocaine distribution and acknowledges receiving funds from these transactions but denies knowledge of any C.I.A. involvement. Dewey C., retired director of the C.I.A., dismisses these claims as baseless and conspiracy theories, denying any conspiracies within the country. Nevertheless, his statements appear to be an attempt to conceal the C.I.A.’s involvement, similar to Hoover’s efforts to hide Black Panther brutality and violations of first amendment rights.[4] In conclusion, substantial evidence strongly suggests that the C.I.A. played a role in drug trafficking. Multiple sources reveal how J. Edgar Hoover manipulated not only the Black Panther Party but also other organizations including the U.S.,C.I.A., for personal gain while depriving people of their first amendment rights.

The sources additionally demonstrate that if the United States or the C. I. A had any involvement, the leaders remained unaware. The secondary sources will provide additional evidence to support the assertion that the C. I. A played a role in the demise of the Black Panther Party and the African American community as a whole.


1. Sandy Banks, in her article “The crack epidemic’s toxic legacy” for the Los Angeles Times on August 07, 2010 (, discusses the lasting effects of the crack epidemic.
2. The West’s Encyclopedia of American Law provides information on “Cointelpro” (, a controversial FBI program.
3. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also has a section on their website called “F.B.I Vault: COINTELPRO” (, which provides further information on the subject.
4. A YouTube video titled “How the CIA Helped Create the Crack Epidemic” (posted on September 07, 2011) explores the alleged involvement of the CIA (
5. An article from the Associated Press, titled “US concedes contras linked to drugs, but denies leadership involved,” published on April 17, 1986, sheds light on the connection between the Contras and drugs (

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Black Panther Party and African American Community. (2017, Jan 22). Retrieved from

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